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Kathleen Marie Ash, 64, died Oct. 31, 2017, in Ketchikan. She was born Dec. 13, 1952, in Washburn, Wisconsin.
11/14/2017
Man arrested in alleged rape of 12-year-old
Sage Ariel Orion Cline


By ZACHARY HALASCHAK
Daily News Staff Writer

Sage Ariel Orion Cline, 26, was arrested on Sunday for allegedly raping a 12-year-old girl on the couch of an address listed in court documents as his residence.

Cline’s bail was set at $200,000 Monday during an initial felony first appearance in Ketchikan District Court.

Cline was charged with two counts of sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree — an unclassified felony in the state of Alaska.

According to court documents, the alleged rape occurred on Sunday. The call reporting the crime to police came in around noon Sunday, and by the end of the day, Cline was arrested.

Cline, who appeared calm in court Monday, requested a public defender.

Details regarding the alleged rape in court documents are graphic and won’t be published here. The formal charges under Alaska statute define first-degree sexual abuse of a minor as “being 16 years of age or older, the offender engages in sexual penetration with a person who is under 13 years of age.”

In this case, the victim allegedly woke up with Cline on top of her.

According to court documents, Cline gave a statement to police in which he admitted he penetrated the 12-year-old child. The probable cause statement also states that, “the defendant further acknowledged that he knew that (the victim) attends a local elementary school.”

Ketchikan Police Department Sgt. Andy Berntson noted the serious nature of this case.

“It is a significant case; it’s an unclassified felony; it’s a big deal,” Berntson said. “These are priority cases, … it’s one of those things that you hate to have to work and hate to have to report about.”

During Cline’s court appearance Monday, Ketchikan District Court Judge Kevin Miller outlined the potential penalties from “unclassified felonies,” the most serious level of sentencing in Alaska.

“Those are called ‘unclassified felonies,’” Miller explained, referring to the two charges. “That means they have a maximum potential penalty of 99 years (in prison) and a $500,000 fine.”

“The allegations are very egregious — heinous — actually,” Assistant District Attorney Jeremy Terral told the judge, asking for a very high bail to be set.

Cline is currently being held at Ketchikan Correctional Center on $200,000 cash-only bail. His next public appearance is a preliminary hearing scheduled for Nov. 22.